Friday, November 30, 2012

any news about Nikita Koshkin's 24 preludes and fugues for solo guitar?

I heard that Selyutina's been working on recording them and that Editions Margaux is the planned publisher but actual release date or publication date for recordings and scores has been a mystery.  Obviously I'm keen to get both when they become available.  Seeing as it's been a couple centuries since the Well-Tempered Clavier was put together for this kind of achievement to get tackled by a guitarist is unique.

Now while I can appreciate that some people believe that the whole idea of writing in every major and minor key for solo guitar no longer seems relevant in our age I would suggest the opposite may be the case.  To the extent that a steady body of works in all major and minor keys has not had much traction in the guitar this gets to what some might call the question of an inferiority complex among guitarists as performers and composers. 

In other words, to put things in polemical terms, if we never bothered to master musical expression and the development of musical ideas in all keys as happened for the keyboard then there's a sense in which moving along with modern styles is moving along in a way that doesn't mean the same thing it woudl for keyboard literature.  Perhaps it's like jumping on a motorcycle without having ridden a bike.  A guitarist can jump into the modern, anything-goes approach to music or skip over how sonata form and fugue are staples in the early keyboard literature and speak as though we just be happy with the literature we have;  it may not be music that's necessarily as profound as the warhorses of keyboard or string literature but who wants to hear the clangy and loud piano? 

Well, me for one.  I enjoy Angela Hewitt's Bach recordings, for instance.  I've got all the Beethoven sonatas.  Is there some reason we guitarists should not compose in every possible key simply because Schoenberg showed up before Ponce wrote his sonatas?  I don't see how that seems relevant at all.  Let's say for the moment that the guitar was something Segovia wanted to elevate to the level of other instruments.  Whether or not he succeeded could depend on the sort of repertoire that was available, right?  How was that repertoire going to happen (if we eliminate Bach and Albeniz transcriptions) if guitarists as a group scrupulously avoided taking the comprehensive approach to keys that keyboardists tackled centuries ago? 

So whether or not Koshkin's preludes and fugues for solo guitar end up being warhorses in the literature or if they become a curio "almost" doesn't matter.  What I've heard so far is promising.  Whether or not Koshkin uses true countersubjects or has dared to write a double fugue remains to be seen. 

I've read some say that the fugue is a difficult form to tackle for the guitar because it can too often end up sounding like a scholastic exercise rather than real music.  Perhaps we should say "real music" because people have stopped thinking and listening in contrapuntal terms as of longer-ago than pop music.  Berlioz didn't always have the nicest things to say about Bach's work, for instance.  Guitarists can, as a group, have an actually physical aversion to contrapuntal music. :)  But I digress ... as usual. 

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